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Quarles & Brady law firm names new managing partner for Phoenix office

Phoenix Business Journal

Quarles & Brady LLP has named Jason Wood as the managing partner of the firm’s Phoenix office.

Wood, who takes over the job on Nov. 1, succeeds Leonardo Loo, who has been with the firm for just over 11 years and had been the managing partner in Phoenix since October 2018.

A partner in the firm’s high-profile real estate practice group, Wood had served as group chair for five years until he handed over that responsibility to Erin Wanner this summer.

Brad Vynalek, the national president of the Milwaukee, Wisconsin firm, who also works in the Phoenix office, said the transition plan to move Wood into the managing partner role had been carefully planned out.

“For these kinds of roles, you’re constantly thinking about [the] succession until you land on who we think is the right person… to follow in the steps of Leo,” Vynalek said. “Jason grew up in Arizona and has a deep passion for Arizona. He will be able to grow the office in this market and expand our opportunities. He’s pumped up about where our market is going.”

Another factor in choosing Wood, Vynalek noted, was his hard work and effort that he put into creating symbiotic relationships with his client roster, which includes institutional, private sector, family office and large public companies.

For his part, Wood said that the scope and breadth of the firm’s national reach — and its bench strength — has been a key driver of its success in Phoenix.

“Quarles has allowed me to really use a national platform to help clients in every way, shape or form,” Wood said.

Competitive market for hiring attorneys

While the current national market for hiring attorneys is the most competitive he has ever seen, Vynalek said the firm is still committed to organic growth, particularly by bringing in eight summer interns each year, and being able to sign on virtually all of them after graduation.

“The culture you create [with the intern program] is an amazing glue. We learn from them, and they learn from us,” Vynalek said.

Vynalek moved up to the newly created president job in 2020.

The firm’s Phoenix office now has a staff of 160 attorneys and business professionals. Firmwide, Quarles & Brady has 985 attorneys and business professionals across 10 offices. 

Wood, who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and his JD from the University of Texas School of Law, has been with Quarles & Brady for nearly seven years, having previously worked for three years with Titus Brueckner & Levine PLC in Scottsdale from 2013-2016. He is also active in The Thunderbirds charity organization affiliated with the WM Phoenix Open.

Loo will transition into an expanded role as a member of the firm’s governing executive committee, and leads the firm’s international services team. In addition, he will continue his practice that also focuses on M&A and commercial financing.

“I look forward to collaborating with all of our stakeholders to further these and many other initiatives for the benefit of our clients and colleagues in my larger roles within the firm. I am equally excited to work with Jason as he takes over the helm,” Loo said in a statement.

When asked to comment about a possible recession, Vynalek said he’s hearing that some industry leaders and clients are putting in some safeguards in case of a potential downturn and thinking about ways to pivot the business and be in the best position possible by placing a lot of cash on the sidelines.

“[Quarles] has done very well in recessions without layoffs, and our clients look to us to execute on opportunities for them. We are diversified in this market and are far more prepared for any kind of recession,” Vynalek said. “Phoenix is really on the international map now. Fifteen years ago when I was in other places like New York, Chicago or LA, they’d mention Phoenix as being a good place for retirees. Now when I go there the first thing people say is they have heard so many great things about Phoenix. The narrative has changed.”


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